Why: Pasta Gigi’s, one of the long-standing businesses in Battle Ground Village, has relocated just across the plaza from its original space. In addition to deli sandwiches, soup, ice cream, dry pastas, and specialty oils and vinegars, it now offers a full lunch and dinner menu featuring Italian dishes made from scratch.
What I tried: I had a bowl of the zuppa -Toscana soup, the chicken Parmesan, which came with a salad and garlic bread, and the cannoli for dessert.
The soup was delicious. The creamy broth had the consistency of water. The add-ins, such as the sausage and onion, were soft yet firm. Typically, this doesn’t really work for me, but in this soup, it was superb.
I decided on the mixed green salad — the other option was a Caesar salad — to accompany the chicken Parmesan. It was appetizingly fresh, entirely void of those all too commonly encountered slimy, beyond-date greens found in some restaurant salads. A few halved grape tomatoes and thinly sliced red onions added to the mixed greens were likewise fresh.
The chicken Parmesan was served atop a large portion of spaghetti with marinara sauce, and topped with melted mozzarella cheese. Although the chicken breast had a nice texture, it lacked cheese flavor and had an oiliness I tired of about half way through the dish. The garlic bread was made from a baguette and was topped with melted cheese. It accompanied the dish well, but I thought it was a little too small given the portion sizes of the chicken and spaghetti.
I dislike using cliches, but the cannoli was to die for. Diners may choose either three little ones or one big one. I settled on three little ones to keep the ratio of cream filling to crust more to my liking. They were drizzled with caramel sauce, sprinkled with crushed Butterfinger candy bar and garnished with a sliced strawberry. I loved the use of the Butter-finger bar, and the presentation was beautiful. It was the perfect finish to my meal.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: The penne al pesto sounds delicious. It is made with a creamy pesto sauce and sauteed mushrooms. You may add pan-seared chicken or shrimp to this dish.
The crespelle intrigued me. It is made with asparagus, ricotta cheese, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese, with a cream sauce drizzled with truffle oil. I might try this one on my next visit. If the cannoli had not been on the menu, I would have tried the salted caramel cake bomb for dessert.
Atmosphere: The two-story space offers downstairs dining, which has a cafe vibe, upstairs dining in a loft-bar area and seating available outside on the balcony, which overlooks the Village’s outdoor market.
Inside the restaurant, large windows on both floors flood the space with a lot of natural light, enhancing the smartly used space.
Whether you go in for ice cream from the ice cream counter, shop the shelves of goodies near the flavored oils and vinegars or sit down for a relaxing dining experience, Pasta Gigi’s feels like a place that holds discovery around every corner.
You may also help yourself to a refreshing glass of fruit infused water while you shop.
Other observations: I happened to be the first diner Gigi’s newly trained waiter served when I visited for dinner, and I found him polite, attentive and knowledgable of the menu items.
I sat on the balcony for my meal, and I loved it. It would be a good place for a date on a warm summer evening.
It is nice to see a place willing to expand in the Village, which has been plagued by a lack of tenants.
Cost: Appetizers are $6.75 to $9.50. Soup is $3.95 for a cup and $6.75 for a bowl. Salads cost $4.25 to $9.25. Entrees range from $9.50 to $12.50. Whole sandwiches are $7.75 to $9.75, and half sandwiches are $5.75 to $7.75. Dessert is $2.25 to $4.75. The entrees on the dinner menu start at $9.50 and top out at $14.95. Sandwiches are not on the dinner menu. Kids choices are $4 to $6.25.
Hours: Lunch is served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Dinner is served 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays.
Where: 1417 S.E. Rasmussen Blvd., Suite 121, Battle Ground.
Health score: Pasta Gigi’s has received a preopening inspection, which is not scored, and is scheduled for a routine inspection in the near future. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.